This weekend's baseball series between Ole Miss and Arkansas is an important one for both teams as they try to climb above .500 in conference play and reduce fan solutions to their problems by at least 50 percent. Even more important than all of that, it marks the 10th anniversary of the finest acting performance to ever occur at Swayze Field.
If you're an Ole Miss fan with a working internet connection, you've seen the video somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 times. It's a sunny Saturday in 2006 at Swayze Field, with the Rebs hosting Arkansas in a big SEC West series. Ole Miss pitcher Brett Bukvich is pitching against Brian Walker in the third inning of a 1-0 game.
Then this happens:
Whether it's your first time to watch (what have you been doing with your life) or your 30th time, it never ceases to amaze and delight. But to truly enjoy this gift none of us deserve, we need to dig in to the individual frames and bask in their glories.
So let's do just that and break down Brian Walker's performance, which was essentially what Daniel Day-Lewis would've done if asked to play a baseball player pretending to be hit by a pitch.
First, let's set things up. As you can see, it's the top of the third inning, and Walker is facing a 1-2 count.
Bukvich, not wanting to give Walker something he can hit, tries to stay inside on the hands.
He misses too far inside and Walker takes the pitch for a ball. OR SO WE THOUGHT.
And so begins the process of Walker trying to sell the idea that he has been hit by a pitch. Fortunately for Ole Miss, the home plate umpire is having none of that DRAMA DEPARTMENT SAUCE.
He orders Walker to return to the batter's box because he knows Walker is out here trying to Gregory Peck his way to first base (as you will see, the umpire is pretty old). But the Finger Point of Justice does nothing to halt Walker's performance.
In fact, it only gets more dramatic. To show you just how dramatic it gets, I've taken four shots of his performance and paired each shot with a closing line from Bill Pullman's speech as president at the end of Independence Day.
Anyway, while Walker was portraying the loss of his right arm, Arkansas coach Dave van Horn wandered down from the third base coach's box to talk with the umpire.
And the trainer also came out to do his job.
Eventually, Walker's arm healed (#blessed) and he did indeed return to the batter's box. Facing a 2-2 count, things were moments away from escalating.
Walker strikes out, mostly due to a horrible swing, but he is convinced he should be on first base thanks to the pitch that wrecked his right elbow.
Granted, I have never played baseball at the college level, but I assume that when you point a bat at an umpire and start screaming at him with maximum anger, it's a good way to get thrown out of a game. And Walker was dismissed moments after this frame, which leads us to our next self-help series: Four Steps to Throwing A Hissy Fit After You Did Something Dumb.
So remember those steps the next time you act like an idiot, but are pot committed to the idea that what you are doing is right, despite knowing it is most certainly not. You just keep saying "raise" and I'm sure it will turn out fine.
At this point in the proceedings, Walker walks into the dugout on his way to the locker room (CLUBHOUSE, YOU BASEBALL IDIOT). One of my favorite things about baseball is when a guy flips out on an umpire and gets tossed, he storms into the dugout like a lunatic, still yelling at the umpire, yet all of his teammates pretend like there is not a temporarily insane person two feet away from them yelling disparaging things at another human being.
No doubt one of baseball's unwritten rules that EVERYBODY KNOWS IF YOU PLAY THE GAME THE RIGHT WAY.
While this is going on, Dave van Horn gets involved again, and this time he's so mad that he has to adjust his pants.
You know who else is still mad?
Once again, baseball law requires that we take a quick timeout for the obligatory shot of a crotch adjustment that must be shown during every minute of airtime.
Finally, Walker heads into the bowels of Oxford-University Stadium.
As one would imagine, his departure is emotionally taxing for his teammates. Vaya con Dios, Brian. We will see you in about six innings.
One final note: Like so many of us, Walker did something really dumb in college. Unlike so many of us, his dumb thing was on TV and then the internet. He now seems like he knows what he did was dumb and is trying to help others not do dumb things.